SRU joins ‘It’s On Us’ sexual assault prevention campaign

it's on us SRU logo

Sept. 30, 2015

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University is joining the "It's On Us" national campaign to end sexual assault and will offer a blitz of programs, a speaker and opportunities for students, faculty and staff to sign a bystander intervention pledge during its Oct. 8-16 campaign.

Programs will include a "Men's Monday," a "Take Back the Night" event and a presentation by a father who lost his daughter to interpersonal violence.

jodi solito

   SOLITO

"We are kind of reframing the whole issue of sexual violence, to stop thinking of it as someone else's problem and start thinking of it as our own," said Jodi Solito, director of the SRU Women's Center/Pride Center.

The National campaign, launched by the White House last year, asks people to sign a four-point pledge promising to help keep women and men safe from sexual assault.

SRU's departments and offices of residence life, Greek life, multicultural development, student health center, athletics, The Women's Center and Army ROTC are collaborating to create critical mass about the issue.

Solito said she became aware of the national campaign and pushed to offer it at SRU.

Gary Cuccia, founder of the Demi Brae Cuccia Awareness Organization in Monroeville, will speak on dating violence at 6 p.m., Oct. 8, in the Smith Student Center Theater. His organization honors the memory of his late 16-year-old daughter Demi Brae, who was murdered by a former boyfriend, John Mullarkey, Jr. in 2007. Mullarkey was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

"My mission is to educate our youth, parents, communities and educational system about the dangers of teen dating violence," Cuccia said.

Army ROTC will host a pledge-signing tent at the Oct. 10 homecoming game in Mihalik-Thompson Stadium. Signers will be asked to sign the It's On Us pledge to:

• Recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault;

• Identify situations in which assault may occur;

• Intervene in situations when consent is not or cannot be given; and

• Create an environment where sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.

The documentary "The Mask You Live In," which follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America's definition of masculinity, will be shown at 6 p.m., Oct. 12, in Room 105 of Vincent Science Center. Joe Van Hannak, instructor in the counseling center, will lead a post-documentary discussion.

"Take Back the Night," a rally and march across campus, begins at 5:30 p.m., Oct. 13, in the Student Government Association Pavilion.

A screening of the documentary "The Hunting Ground," an expose of sexual assaults on U.S. campuses, will be shown at 6 p.m., Oct. 15 at Smith Student Center Theater. A panel discussion will follow.

corinne gibson

   GIBSON

Corinne Gibson, SRU director of multicultural development, said one of the main goals is to instill a sense of responsibility for bystanders to come forward.

"We should all step in to say something," Gibson said. "If you feel like something is going on with another person who is not a willing participant, we cannot look away."

Tips for what you can do to be part of the solution include:

• Talk to your friends honestly and openly about sexual assault.

• Don't just be a bystander -- if you see something, intervene in any way you can.

• Trust your gut. If something looks like it might be a bad situation, it probably is.

• Be direct. Ask someone who looks like they may need help if they're OK.

• Get someone to help you if you see something -- enlist a friend, bartender, or host to help step in.

• Keep an eye on someone who has had too much to drink.

• If you see someone who is too intoxicated to consent, enlist their friends to help them leave safely.

• Recognize the potential danger of someone who talks about planning to target another person at a party.

• Be aware if someone is deliberately trying to intoxicate, isolate or corner someone else.

• Get in the way by creating a distraction, drawing attention to the situation, or separating them.

• Understand that if someone does not or cannot consent to sex, it's rape.

• Never blame the victim.


MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 | gordon.ovenshine@sru.edu